Vietnam likely to have homegrown COVID-19 vaccine in September


VOV.VN - Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on August 12 encouraged scientists and pharmaceutical firms to make a greater effort in vaccine research and production in order to have a locally produced COVID-19 vaccine in September 2021.

PM Pham Minh Chinh says a greater effort should be made to speed up vaccine research and development so that the first locally produced COVID-19 vaccine is likely to be marketed in September. (Photo:VGP)
PM Pham Minh Chinh says a greater effort should be made to speed up vaccine research and development so that the first locally produced COVID-19 vaccine is likely to be marketed in September. (Photo:VGP)

Addressing scientists and representatives of pharmaceutical firms at a working session in Hanoi, Chinh said he pays special attention to the ongoing implementation of the vaccine strategy.

To secure vaccines for people, he said Vietnam is synchronously carrying out a three-pronged vaccine strategy, focusing on vaccine purchase and import, technology transfer, and domestic research and production.

“Domestic research and production plays an important role in implementing this vaccine strategy and this must be done by all means,” Chinh stressed.

He asked scientists, managers and manufacturers to consider minimizing procedures, including administrative procedures, but to meet professional requirements regarding the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine.

“Since this field is related to health and human life, we must have a warm heart and keep a cool head,” he reminded.

To this end, he assigned the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Science and Technology and Ministry of Justice to assist scientists and pharmaceutical firms in vaccine research and development so that a Made-in-Vietnam vaccine would be marketed in September this year.

In addition, he asked the designated ministries, scientists and firms to assist with research and development of COVID-19 medication to support treatment.

Vietnam is testing two local vaccines, Nano Covax and Covivac, on humans. Nano Covax alone is entering its third and final phase of its clinical trials. Preliminary reports show the vaccine is 90% effective against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

As COVID-19 vaccines are in short supply, Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology JSC, the developer of Nano Covax, has submitted its request to the Ministry of Health (MoH) for an early approval of its vaccine for emergency use in Vietnam. However, MoH experts say they need more time to evaluate the effectiveness of the vaccine.

Vietnamese firms have also reached agreements on transfer of vaccine production technology with several foreign partners.

VinBioCare, an affiliate of Vingroup, a leading multisectoral conglomerate of Vietnam, and Arcturus Therapeutics medicines biotechnology company of the US entered a partnership in early August 2021 to produce ARCT-154 vaccine in Vietnam, using Arcturus’ STARR mRNA technology. Both sides are going to conduct clinical trials of the vaccine, and the recruitment of volunteers is due to take place shortly.

VABIOTECH, one of the leading Vietnamese pharmaceutical companies, has recently produced an initial test batch of the Russian-developed Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19 with permission given by the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF). The batch was transferred to Russia for quality control, and if it meets the manufacturer’s standards, the VABIOTECH and RDIF partnership is set to produce millions of Sputnik V doses in Vietnam.  

Vietnam is currently grappling with a fresh COVID-19 outbreak, with the virus spreading to 62 out of 63 cities and provinces across the country and more than 200,000 new cases recorded during the past three and a half months.

However, the vaccination coverage remains low, as more than 12 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines have been administered nationwide. 

The MoH is speeding up the national vaccination campaign, aiming to inoculate 70% of the population, or 75 million people, by early 2022.



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